Category Archives: JETHRO

Alas, Back in Plain Jacket

Well, I got a disappointing, but perfectly understandable, email today. Because of our impending move, GDA is going to transfer Jethro’s sponsorship to another puppy. They figured with the distance involved, if the SoCal-based sponsor were ever to wish to meet Jethro in person, it just wouldn’t be feasible. So the little man will be sporting the standard yellow GDA puppy in training jacket instead of the one with his (now former) sponsor’s name on it. Irony: we just got the sponsor jacket in the mail last week!

It’s a bummer, because it’s an honor to be asked to raise a sponsored dog. There is some extra work involved in submitting quarterly reports, of course. My first one for Jethro clocked in at 46 pages of photos and stories (which is way more work than anyone asks for, but since I keep this journal anyway I might as well give the sponsors more for their money, right?). There’s another bummer in that we’ll be missing out on the free dog food that comes as a benefit…but honestly, we were going to forfeit that anyway once we moved, so it’s not a big deal. The subsidized dog food came in quite handy while the pack leader was out of work, and these nice little perfectly-timed bonuses tend to be how I am most aware of God’s faithful provision in my life. I’m grateful for having had the privilege as long as we did.

I’m fine with it, but it’s a good thing Jethro has no clue what’s going on, because the poor little fella is scheduled for neutering tomorrow as well — de-sponsored and de-dude-ified in the span of just two days! That is some serious demotion (cue Mr. Banks’s humiliation scene from Mary Poppins here).

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Is “Happy New Year” Still Acceptable?

Happy New Year! Can I still be saying that on the 17th?

Wolf and I have been away for the last two weeks on a little adventure. We drove one of our cars across the country so we’ll have one less thing to deal with during the move in March. We crossed something like ten states in five days on the road. Five…long…days. Then I stayed in Pennsylvania for an extra week, getting to know a little about the area where we’ll be relocating, and trying to find a place for us to live.

It is no picnic finding a rental place that allows dogs, let me tell you. Yes, even extremely well-behaved dogs! I suppose I can understand a landlord’s prerogative in that; you don’t necessarily know your tenants or their pets. If it were me, though, I’d be much more inclined to allow dogs than, say, cats. After all, I’ve never had to replace the living room carpet because of a dog.

We have some good leads and will see how it goes. I’d just like to have an address, and a square-footage count, so I can start thinking more strategically about what to take with us and what to get rid of before the move.

Meanwhile, my boys were with puppy sitters the last two weeks. Truman stayed with his favorite adoring “aunties,” and got to play with some very energetic one-year-old golden retriever girls AND his favorite career-changed goldendoodle. Sometimes when I pick him up from Auntie Georgia’s house, I’m not entirely convinced he wants to leave.

Jethro was staying with a family in my puppy raiser group who just turned in their dog — also a male yellow Lab — for formal training. So that was good for both the snuggly dog and the people who miss having one to snuggle. They brought him back to me last night, and I swear he bulked up! Can’t wait to weigh him at the school on Tuesday and find out how much he’s gained.

From the sound of it, Jethro got lots of love and attention and training time (his first lesson: how to distinguish between puppy toys and children’s toys — apparently a LEGO sacrificed itself in the endeavor). They took him to restaurants several times, where he was apparently very well behaved; and to my puppy group meeting, where they said his obedience was quite good. He responds very well to verbal correction, which is a terrific trait.

I forget sometimes what a high standard we hold our dogs to. When someone says that he was very well behaved in a public place, I always think, “Well of COURSE he was!” And then I remember that he’s just five, five and a half months old. We forget. But people who aren’t used to service dogs in training often marvel at what our little puppies can do. Know anybody else who’d take a five month old pup to the office, or to a restaurant, and expect obedience?

And doesn’t it make you smile when someone says, “I didn’t even realize there was a dog here”…? What a gift these dogs are, for their eventual partners and for us. What a privilege to raise them, to teach them, to be proud of them and to love them long after they’re no longer ours.

It’s a new year. There’s excitement ahead. Welcome, 2011.

Have Yourself a Hairy Little Christmas

Merry Christmas from LabradorRodeo! May you and yours enjoy the many blessings of the season!

And may your four-legged family members be more appreciative than mine seem to be.  (Yeah, I don’t know who pooped in their stockings, either. Apparently there’s just no Christmas joy in them until there’s something under the tree that is clearly marked for canine playtime or consumption.)

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you!

Christmas Morning

Before we went to my in-laws’ house for family festivities and dinner and all that fun human stuff, we let the boys open their presents (a squeaky “Ruffians” octopus for Jethro and a Kong “Beast” toy for Truman, though I suspect they’ll share like good dogs).

But we also did something I’ve been wanting to do for two months now: take the boys for a walk around the big park behind our house. Jethro’s first real walk! The whole circuit is almost a mile, not counting the getting there and getting back, and the park is usually full of walkers, joggers, dogs, children, sports, picnics, birthday parties, squirrels, birds, miniature trains, and feral cats (something for everyone!).

There were two fantastic things about this walk in the brisk, invigorating post-storm air. One, since Wolf is home, all four of us were able to enjoy it together. It’s going to mean double the good exercise, but also double the time, for me to walk the boys after he leaves again.

And two, a nice long walk full of new and exciting experiences makes for a very sleepy puppy.

Just Like Kids

We took Jethro with us to the Christmas Eve service at our church, and we had to get there really early so Wolf could rehearse with the other musicians (he got to play his clarinet on several of the carols, which sounded terrific with the violin and the mandolin and the guitar and the bass and the piano and the vocalists…super cool).

While Jethro was pretty well-behaved for that time of the evening — he prefers shuffling to sitting still during the dinner hours — he did give me a look or two during rehearsal that indicated he was bored and would rather be elsewhere. People tell me that puppy raising is much like raising kids, and it’s times like this I suspect they’re right.

And With a Braveheart Cry:

“FREEEEEEDOMMMMMM!!!!”

It is a banner day here. Not only is our beloved pack leader home for Christmas, but Jethro just got his 20-week vaccine…otherwise known in my house as “The Freedom Shot!” Now he’s fully portable and ready to rock and roll.

Rain, Rain, Go Away (No, SERIOUSLY)

This weather! We have had continuous rain here in Southern California for days. DAYS. And when I say “continuous,” I mean it hasn’t let up for more than an hour or so, one time, for DAYS. The natives are getting restless.

Mostly, they’re just bored.

But I’m always a little apprehensive when I see the face that asks the question, “What fresh new kind of trouble can I get myself into around here?”

The pack leader will be home again in just three days. Meanwhile, there is much cleaning to be done. Much shopping to be done. Much trying-to-avoid-soaking-the-dogs-while-they’re-piddling to be done. I’m wiped out just thinking about it.